McMullen Creek Greenway is a 5.8 mile, well-shaded escape from the nearby population center that’s grown up along the south end of 485. Mirroring creeks and crossing wetlands, the long piece of trail is the perfect alternative to miles on hot, congested roads. The trail surface, crushed gravel and boardwalks over wetlands, is fast but more forgiving than hardscape.
What Makes It Great
Park crushed gravel and part pavement, with occasional wood boardwalks traversing wetlands, the nearly 6 miles of greenway is well suited for road running shoes. Even on busy days the wide trail makes room for all visitors. Bikers, joggers, and families all frequent the trail to stay cool under a canopy of trees and be serenaded by the birds and frogs that make the creeks their home.
In typical Charlotte fashion, where a single road can have three names and two roads with the same name intersect, this greenway can get confusing. Beginning at the entrance on Pineville-Mathews Road, is called McMullen Creek. As it turns to make a “U” it becomes Lower McAlpine Greenway (not to be confused with Upper McAlpine / Campbell Creek Greenway). The final stretch is called Four Mile Creek Greenway.
Used to such conflagrations, Charlotteans typically refer to it simply as McMullen. No matter what it’s called, the greenway is a good option for an easy stroll or a getting miles in on a long weekend run.
Traveling over wetlands means lots of opportunities to see the animals that make this habitat their home while transient birds play the natural soundtrack for your run.
Who is Going to Love It
Elite charlotte marathoners and find their way to McMullen. With the ability to get nearly 12 uninterrupted miles, McMullin is a favorite of distance runners for the long run in their training schedule. Plenty of families visit McMullen as the wide greenway is great for baby strollers. And the well marked distances are good for a new runner working their couch to 5K program.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several places to park and access McMullen but the easiest to access from 485 is at 3185 Pineville-Mathews Rd. This entrance offers bathrooms and a small exercise area with pull-up bars and the like. Arriving early on nice weekend days will help avoid the inevitably full parking lot. Dogs are welcome but should be kept on a leash and picked up after.